Wills, Trusts & Estate Planning Blog

One of our community leaders recently told me that she is named personal representative of her father’s will but she did not know exactly what that entails.  As the generation of baby boomers gets older, their parents are inevitably and unfortunately getting closer to the end of their lives.  The issue and confusion of the logistics following one’s death can be quite unsettling on the surviving heirs.  This article is designed to provide an overview of the probate process in the State of North Carolina. Mom passed away. What’s next?
One of the most important aspects in any properly implemented estate plan is the avoidance of probate, or the estate administration process.  Probate is defined as the legal process wherein the estate of a decedent is administered.  Generally, the probate process involves the collection of a decedent’s assets, liquidating liabilities of the decedent, paying necessary taxes, and distributing property to heirs.  The personal representative is held to strict statutory and fiduciary guidelines to administer the estate in accordance with the will and the laws of North Carolina.
While I am no expert in regards to social media, I do have accounts with Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.  The question is “What happens to these type accounts after I am deceased?”  News about these types of situations recently came to light when the Twitter account of Ryan Dunn, of Jackass fame, was hacked and the alleged hackers “Tweeted” two years after his death.  As you can imagine, his family was none too pleased.
Winston Churchill once said, “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” Charitable giving allows one the opportunity to support philanthropic organizations, assist in revitalizing communities, potentially receive income and estate tax savings, and bring others along to further propel the efforts of charitable organizations.  However, no matter how large or small the gift of an individual may be, there is one common denominator regarding charitable giving: All Gifts to Charity Make a Difference! Methods of Giving
A Personal Representative (PR) is the individual or entity who is appointed by the Clerk of Superior Court to administer a decedent’s estate and includes Executor, Executrix, Administrator, and Administratrix.  
In my previous blog, I cautioned about visiting the courthouse prior to hiring an attorney.  This is because there are simplified estate administration procedures available in order to avoid what I refer to as “full probate.” In this blog, I am going to briefly speak about two procedures available for surviving spouses rather than undertaking complete full estate administration.
“A man’s home is his castle” is a common saying that is even reflected in the Bill of Rights.   Another common saying is that there are but two certainties in life – death and taxes.  So what happens “tax-wise” when one decides to sell his castle?  Although there are many different tax consequences when selling a home, here’s a brief and broad overview of the tax ramifications when you sell your home.  IS IT YOUR PRINCIPAL RESIDENCE?